No, I’m not talking about the food (which I find to be absolutely delectable) but the husky artist himself. I know the man is generally regarded as a legend of rock but I’ve got one big issue with him; I think he stole the idea for his smash hit “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) from another, more legendary, more impressive, and more beloved artists….Hall and Oates.
I know, I know. These are serious claims but then, ladies and gentlemen of the internet, let us examine the facts. Its 1981, Hall and Oates has just finished recording their soon to be hit album “Private Eyes” and Daryl Hall, being the musical genius that he is, strolls over to a Korg organ and starts banging out the bass line in a New York City studio. That bass line eventually gives birth to “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”, a sublime offering that is quickly released as a single in December of 1981 and rockets up the charts. 10 weeks it sat at No. 1 on the US Billboard Charts. It even hit No. 1 on the R&B charts, which is an impressive feat for a white act, and was so influential that Michael Jackson admitted to Hall, as they were wrapping up recording “We Are the World” that he lifted the bass line from the song for “Billie Jean”.
In short, the song was a masterpiece. And just look at this single cover. One word comes to mind; majestic.
Now lets us fast forward to 1993. Meat Loaf is no doubt sweating profusely as he is struggling to come up with a song. He’s in his underwear, long hair plastered to his sweaty face and boom, what comes on the radio? Just that opus “I Can’t Go For That”. His foot taps instinctively and then, like a bolt of lightning..EUREKA! The theme of the song strikes a chord.
‘I’ll do anything that you want me tooOOOOooo…Yeah I’ll do almost anything that you want me tooOOOooo but I can’t go for that (no can do)”.
“YES!”, yells Meat Loaf, in his lightly stained undies with empty Budweisers and a mostly eaten meat lovers pizza strewn about his disheveled apartment. “The empathy, the compassion in the lyrics, the subtle desperation mixed with fierce loyalty, what an opus!”
The inspiration consumes him and Meat Loaf quickly puts his greasy fingerprints all over the song. Add a guitar solo, take away all the subtlety and nuance, get a female voice to scream over the track, make the “that” seem much more obvious, mysterious and vague to generate conversation and voila! His first #1 hit is born.
Meat Loaf’s offering went on to become the much larger of the two. Today it still garner’s more radio play and, overall, is the more popular of the songs but I am here to render unto you a poignant reminder. A reminder that those stellar troubadours Daryl Hall and John Oates paved the way for Meat Loaf to make a splash. I’m sure if confronted with these facts and the fact that their offering predates Meat Loaf’s by a dozen years, Daryl Hall would have the same reply ready that he had for a bashful Michael Jackson those many years ago;
“Hey man, its cool, we all lift stuff from each other”.
Such a class act. Its only just that Hall & Oates have finally been enshrined in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Now excuse me, I’ve got five episodes of ‘Daryl’s House’ to get through on my DVR and remember, the next time you hear Meat Loaf belt out he’d do anything for love, but he won’t do that, he also wouldn’t go for it (NOOooo, no can do).